Technology continues to embed itself further in our personal and professional lives. Everyone is constantly connected, smartphones are in everyone's pocket, and there seems to be a new software application to use at work every day. Yet only recently have we started to consider the implications of all this tech, and the toll it may be taking on us.
Millennials and Gen Z have proved fertile ground for this transformation. T.V. and CD's have given way to Netflix and Spotify, emails and calls to Insta, Snap and Facetime, and when it comes to work, in-person meetings have given way to Slack and Zoom. The list goes on. With millennials now the most significant percentage of the US labor population, (22.7%), this trend is just getting started.
This workforce is different. They've seen their personal lives either remarkably simplified by technology, or it’s just all they know. This consumerization of technology has now made its way over the hurdles of the stodgy old world of monolithic business software and, in the form of SaaS applications, taken that simplification to the workplace. But there’s a catch.
What's this have to do with software?
A recent survey we conducted highlighted a surprising stat between the perception of how many SaaS subscriptions companies think they have and the reality. In short, people in companies thought they used around 66 subscriptions - but 59% of respondents reported that they thought that their company used an average of 93 additional subscriptions than they or senior management were aware of. This SaaS sprawl cuts across startups and scaleups and just gets worse as startups scale.
Employees expect more
Less than twenty years ago, this was inconceivable as employees had no say on which software they used. Fast-forward to today, and the reality at work is unrecognizable. User-friendly SaaS solutions are easy to try and buy and there is no shortage of use-case-specific applications to choose from. With a pay-as-you-go model, you’re not locked in. Sounds amazing. What could go wrong besides maybe cost creep here and there?
The paradox of choice
With over 25,000 b2b SaaS applications to choose from, startups find themselves at a loss as they prioritize speed over efficiency. How do you choose the right software application for your company and your specific stage of growth? How do teams understand the effectiveness of an application for the longer term? How do they know the implications choosing one application over another has on how teams collaborate and work cross-functionally?
Company Culture and Leadership
Leaders are constantly looking for ways to recognize high-performing employees to enable them with the tools they need to deliver their best. We’d argue that it’s also their responsibility to help employees understand why software decisions are not something to take lightly, as software directly impacts the business, organizational security, and team effectiveness. It sounds like it shouldn’t be “a thing” - but the data shows otherwise.
Employees expect better and constantly improving tools to get their job done. It's no surprise, then, that nearly half of U.S. workers say they are likely to leave their current job if they're unhappy or frustrated with the technology they use at work. And when employees are frustrated and contemplating a job change, culture suffers. According to a Glassdoor survey, 70% of employees will consider leaving if company culture deteriorates.
Fast-moving teams are constantly pushing and pulling between keeping the pace up, working effectively across teams, and trying to hit aggressive objectives. With the ubiquity of software at team's fingertips, and the ease with which software organically enters companies today, leaders need to have their radar up and be ready to intervene. Ideally, they should simply trust employees and find the right degree of control to preserve a healthy company culture. In reality, people and teams need guidance and reasonable processes and controls to ensure the right balance between tech, process, and growth.
This is precisely why we at Cledara focus on helping people be more successful users of their business software.
We’ve entered a new era of work in this post-pandemic world. A world that has been flipped upside down and driven a new reliance on business software. We spend (too many) hours tied to our software applications and only now are we learning of the implications.
This has a follow-on impact on company culture, and leaders are looking for help. The unseen costs of neglecting corporate culture (low morale, high turnover, disengagement, burnout) are real, and a pragmatic approach is in order.
Helping your employees become successful users of the software they depend on makes sense in this context. This allows them to select and use the tools that drive productivity and engagement and at the same time allows leadership to meet its security and budget objectives, with the confidence that an underlying process exists to keep everything in check as growth happens.
We think this is a win-win for startup employees and leaders. Want to learn more? Cledara is here to help.